Way Down Under in Melbourne, Australia, Chris Mesagno walks the campus of Victoria University, happy with his job and only occasionally homesick.
"Sometimes I do miss home, but I'm so busy here and they televise a lot of what's going on in the U.S. that it's not that bad," Mesagno said during a recent visit home.
Mesagno, 28, is a Dunedin High and University of Florida graduate, with master's degrees in sports exercise and sports sciences. He was a member of the Gators' 1996-99 bowling squads and remembers some of his teammates well, including St. Petersburg's Brian Korcak and Bruce Hoffman.
"We got to the nationals twice and I guess I was most proud of the fact that I qualified first for the team all four years," he said.
Mesagno carried a 211 average and was ranked 27th nationally.
A chance meeting with a Victoria University faculty member at a UF conference and a subsequent online interview landed Mesagno a teaching job at the university and he moved to Melbourne in 2002. "I was looking for those special programs to enter outside the States," he said.
Mesagno's job at the university of about 35,000 students is teaching sports psychology, mainly about anxiety in sports. He is also coaches young bowlers and offers private lessons.
"I was always interested in psychology and looked for something more positive than the dark side of psychology," he said.
Shortly after moving to Melbourne, Mesagno formed a group of nine sports psychologists from across the country involved in the Ten Pin Bowling Association. He's the Victorian State representative and the group conducts clinics for coaches and bowlers that include his special skills.
"I work out five times a week, got into surfing and water skiing and keep up my bowling average," Mesagno said.
Mesagno said he still buys his equipment in the U.S., though it takes two months to get a ball shipped to Australia.
"I've always liked to hang around and talk with folks and, down here, it's an integral part of their culture," Mesagno said.
PREP SHAKEUP: A shakeup hit the Pinellas County High School League in its second week.
Dixie Hollins bumped first-week leader Northeast to fifth in the girls' scratch competition and Tarpon Springs dropped Seminole to second in the boys' handicap division. Northeast retained its lead in the boys' scratch with a 35-7 mark. Tarpon Springs and East Lake were tied for second at 31-11.
The junior varsity race was a three-way tie with Largo No. 1, Seminole No. 1 and East Lake No. 1, all with 19-2 marks.
Gibbs' boys nailed a 2,197 scratch series and East Lake's Jess Robinson rolled a 264-714 scratch. Largo's Erica Goyette fired a 230-604 scratch and Northeast's girls recorded a 2,198 scratch series.
Countryside Lanes and AMF Clearwater Lanes host the league next Thursday, starting at 3:30 p.m.
PRO-AM WINNERS: Pro-am winners at the recent PBA southern regional at Sunrise Lanes were Alex O'Neill, Antony Stefanovich and David Krutzler in the junior divisions; Roy Dykes in the senior division and Bob Teterault, adult. More than 100 turned out for the event.
Clermont's Norm Duke fired a 300 game during the pro-am and won the regional title with another 300 game against Atlanta's Stoney Baker.
AROUND THE LANES: Seminole's Bill and Donna Zuben lead the senior mixed doubles with a 1,129 pinfall in the Storm National Mixed Tournament at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. Zuben also heads the men's senior scratch singles with a 669 series ... Chris Loschetter, tourney director for the Florida Youth Scratch Bowlers Tour, is the mixed doubles leader with Erin Landford in the Hoinke Classic in Cincinnati ... Dunedin Lanes is offering a ladies' scratch trio league starting Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. with a $15 weekly fee ... Entries for the Sept. 20-21 ABCb.line World Team Challenge at Seminole Lanes may be made through the ABC's Tom Boedecker at (414) 423-3415. Entry fee is $600 per team.